2022 AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellowship

Saturday, January 1, 2022
to Wednesday, February 9, 2022
Category: Fellowships

♦ Need inspiration?

♦ Story ideas?

♦ How about new sources?

♦ What if you could safely and conveniently hear from researchers about the latest public health issues?

AHCJ has teamed up with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the support of the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, for this virtual program for journalists.

A select group of journalists will be chosen to spend May 23-24 virtually interacting with CDC experts. The AHCJ-CDC Fellows will:

  • hear about – with the opportunity to ask questions – the latest CDC information about the COVID-19 pandemic, including information about vaccines, research, mask-wearing, vulnerable populations and more

  • learn about more public health efforts, including maternal mortality, the flu season, key health data and the latest public health updates both related to COVID-19 and beyond the current pandemic

  • meet new sources on policy and research

  • learn how to tap the agency's abundant resources to produce better stories

  • interact online with colleagues from across the country

Candidates should be working journalists who qualify for AHCJ professional membership – please check here to see if you qualify. The fellowship program includes AHCJ membership (new or renewed).

In past years, AHCJ and CDC have invited health journalists for in-person sessions on the CDC campus in Atlanta under a fellowship program. This year, to keep colleagues safe, the sessions will be held virtually. But much of the experience will be the same.

Comments from some past fellows:

  • "Fantastic! An incredible opportunity to meet top CDC officials, make relationships and really deeply enhance my learning of complicated subject matter - from contagious diseases to environmental health issues - that is difficult to get on deadline. This was an amazing experience, and helped me generate many story ideas. I even wrote a cholera daily story from information provided at this week's sessions!"
    – Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times

  • I will speak of this program only in accolades. I found this to be an eye-opening, informative, educational and absolutely breathtaking experience. I am indebted to AHCJ for giving me this opportunity and feel privileged and honored to have been a part of this boot camp.
    – Cindy Uken, Billings Gazette

  • It was nicely focused. I got information that I can use right away. You kept us busy enough without overloading us. Just knowing the structure and breadth of what CDC does is great.
    – Lisa Baertlein, Reuters

  • The program offers health journalists a unique opportunity to learn about the nerve center of public health and public health safety. I will take valuable “insider” knowledge back to my office. And it has been wonderful connecting with other journalists who share my passion and challenges to tell important stories, despite stretched resources.
    – Karen Herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The application deadline has passed.

Questions? Contact Susan Cunningham, cunninghamsu@missouri.edu or 573-882-2203.

Still not convinced? Here's more from former fellows:

"As a magazine freelancer, I was brimming with story ideas after leaving the fellowship, and I soon put that information to use in articles for Good Housekeeping, Reader's Digest, More, Parenting and other publications." That's what fellow Meryl Davids Landau, a freelance writer based in Florida, said about the fellowship. In "Eight months later, freelancer still generating story ideas from fellowship," she writes about meeting top officials at the CDC, briefings from experts on health issues from genomics to infectious diseases to child safety and more. She says they learned about navigating databases such as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey and CDC publications.

Kim Mueller, a 2018 fellow, wrote about the dangers of giving birth in Kansas and Missouri.

And if you've ever wanted to tell the CDC what to do, be inspired by fellow JoNel Aleccia who suggested they send media their tentative Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report lineup the day before publication, something that was implemented and is still in practice.

The Las Vegas Sun's Marshall Allen, who was a member of first class of AHCJ-CDC Health Journalism Fellows, learned that avian flu was still a danger. Elizabeth Fernandez of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about the CDC's efforts to uncover what causes autism. Modern Healthcare’s Jessica Zigmond wrote about the enthusiasm she encountered among public health experts at the CDC. She says it allowed her to find an expert who “not only had great interest in his work, but who also seemed genuinely interested in sharing that information with a group of 11 journalists, all of whom had different backgrounds, interests and goals.” In 2019, fellow Carol Morton wrote this story for The Oregonian about a suicide prevention study.

More stories written as a result of this fellowship: